Changing Your Oil
Depending on the type of vehicle you have, you will need your oil changed anywhere from 3,000 miles or 3 months to every 20,000 miles. For the vast majority of vehicles 3,000 is the mark so check your owner's manual. Not changing your oil regularly can lead to major problems in your engine all the way up to complete engine failure, so it is something you want to keep track of.
Okay, so how do you do it?
Step #1: Explain to your wife or girlfriend that women can do anything a man can do, in fact better in most cases! And admire how she would "never let the man hold her down" while handing her a crescent wrench and 5 quartz of oil.
Step #2: If you are a wife or girlfriend, explain how if your significant other was "any kind of man at all" the oil would already be changed, and besides it's hot when his hands get all greasy, while handing him a crescent wrench and 5 quartz of oil.
If that fails try this:
- 1Find your owner's manual and check how much oil and the type of oil you need. Go to your nearest parts store and get the amount of oil you need (usually 5 quartz and it may be a good idea to get a little extra incase you spill some or the dog drinks it or something). Also, don't mix the type of oil you use - brand should not matter too much, but do not mix synthetic and regular. If the manual says synthetic for example, stick with that.
- 2While there, pick up a good oil filter. Don't get the cheapest, get the best. A good filter saves a lot more in the cost of gas than whatever extra you spend on the filter - not to mention it's cheaper than fixing your engine if you go with a cheap one and it doesn't get the job done.
- 3Tools: A wrench of some sort, one that is good for "close quarters" will be what you need. That's all you really need unless you want to use a mallet - mallets are cool, not good for much, but cool.
- 4Get an oil pan that seals so that you can safely dispose of the used oil when you are finished.
- 5Make sure your engine is cool. WARNING! Don't try to change your oil if the engine is still warm, if you just drove give it an hour to cool.
- 6Look in your trunk for a jack to raise your car. Every vehicle should have one in the trunk - they come with your vehicle so it's there somewhere.
- 7You now have your tools ready, wrench, jack, oil pan that seals.
- 8Use your jack to raise your vehicle. There will be a place to set the jack behind your front tire. If in doubt check the manual to see where to safely raise the vehicle. Make sure it is sturdy and you have enough room to maneuver beneath your vehicle. Don't raise it any higher than you need, use "jack stands" if possible, and don't depend on the jack to hold your car up while you are beneath - you're not going there yet, but when you do make sure you're flat on the ground with just enough room to maneuver.
- 9Open the hood - this is the tricky part, but below the steering wheel or next to your seat there should be a lever with a picture of your car's hood, pull that... oops, no that was the trunk... no that's the gas cap. There you go, hood open.
- 10You will see under your hood an oil fill cap, it will be labeled and should be easy to find though the wording may be covered in a bit of grime if you haven't had it washed in awhile. Remove this and set it aside.
- 11Go beneath your car and you will see the "oil pan" (not the oil pan you're going to hold the old oil in, it's called an oil pan under the car as well) it will be large, flat, and take up the majority of the bottom where you are working. On this will be a large hexagonal plug. Place your oil pan beneath this and remove it.
- 12Give the oil time to completely drain. Take a break, make a sandwich, whatever.
- 13Once the oil is completely drained, put the hexagonal cap back on. Make sure it is tight. Usually tightening it with your hand is enough, if your hands aren't that strong use your wrench but don't overdo it.
- 14Now find the oil filter beneath the vehicle, and remove it. This should be easy to find as it is the only other thing you can remove down there relatively easily, but if you are having trouble locating it check your manual. You will need to turn it counter-clockwise and it should only take a couple of turns. Some oil will fall out, and this is normal (why you placed your oil pan beneath it). Now take out the old filter, get out of there and go get your new filter.
- 15When you open your new filter you will notice a rubber gasket. Take a little oil (the stuff you bought) and thoroughly coat the rubber gasket. Now get back under your car and screw the new filter back in (it goes in the same way as the old one came out). When you screw it in, it should seal on its own. Turn it until it is tight then another quarter turn.
- 16Get out of under your car, lower it, and put your jack back in the trunk.
- 17Remember the oil fill cap you removed from beneath your hood? Pour the amount of oil your manual indicates where you removed that cap. Check your oil dipstick and it should say a quarter full... "Wait! That means I need more oil!" No, no, no. The oil is simply settled at the bottom.
- 18Once everything is set, oil added, jack removed, all plugs and caps on and tight, start your engine without revving and let it run for about 5 minutes to let it warm up. Once warm, turn off the engine and check your oil dipstick again. It should say "Full". Make sure there are no leaks beneath your engine (there shouldn't be as long as you closed everything correctly).
Congratulations! You just changed your oil.